By Theresa Goodwin
The circulation of disturbing photographs of an inmate who was allegedly beaten by several prison officers at Her Majesty’s Prison late last month has forced authorities to launch two separate investigations.
Prison Superintendent Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Philip told Observer yesterday that officials are probing allegations that former Police Constable Joseph Peters – locked up for ‘demanding with menace’ in December 2017 – was beaten by guards. They are also looking into an additional report of Peters being involved in a fight at the penal institution.
Philip said information from both incidents will form part of a wider investigation.
The ex-police officer was allegedly beaten by several prison guards in the presence of a senior officer on April 28.
Photographs sent to Observer show the inmate with bruises under the left side of his eye and other parts of his face as well as a crooked nose. He was transported to Mount St John’s Medical Centre for treatment on Tuesday – several days after the alleged incident.
Peters is being represented by attorney Wendel Robinson who said the matter was brought to his attention by the inmate’s wife.
According to Robinson, Peters was badly beaten to the point that his nose was either broken or fractured following an allegation that Peters had breached prison rules.
“From my understanding the prison officers may have conducted a search and found food stuff in his cell; while it may be OK to impose some sort of punishment, he was badly beaten instead,” Robinson said on Wednesday.
The lawyer confirmed he had seen the photographs of the injuries.
“I am of the view that when a person is incarcerated their constitutional rights remain intact. I have been in contact with the prison superintendent and have expressed by view about the allegations. I was assured that there would be an investigation into the matter,” he continued.
Peters was convicted and jailed on December 19 2017 for four years after he was found guilty of demand with menace for his involvement in a high-profile case.
He is scheduled to be released sometime in June.
Robinson explained that changes could be made to this timeframe because his client was remanded at Police Headquarters for several weeks before he was transferred to the prison and that time should be deducted from his sentence.
Robinson said he and fellow attorney Lawrence Daniels have submitted letters to both the prison superintendent and police regarding the latter.